“A year ago,” Matt says “the future was a black hole.” As an attorney at his father’s firm, tension in his relationship with his father impacted both his personal life and his work life. On top of that, he was going through a painful breakup. “I was in a tough spot,” he says. “I was broken, hurting, misunderstood. I had a lot of anger. I was lonely.” He started his Faithwalking journey knowing that something significant needed to change.
As Matt explored his past, he began to see why he felt so unfulfilled at his job. As the youngest of three children, he had learned to let others make important decisions for him. As a result, he felt like he was living someone else’s life. Matt describes it this way: “I felt like I was losing myself, because I didn’t feel like I fully chose this life for myself. It was just expected of me, or I fell into it, or I was ushered into it. And so who I was becoming didn’t feel like it was me.”
This realization changed everything. As Matt began to practice being defined in his relationships, he felt like a new person. Even his old job took on new meaning as he showed up differently with his clients and co-workers. And his family relationships are “probably better than they’ve been in a long time.” How did this happen? He began to see that, “though people may have hurt me, I couldn’t keep blaming other people for my problems. I had to start seeing what I could do better, to take responsibility for how I was showing up in each relationship.” This didn’t happen all at once, but “slowly, through one-on-one conversations with family members, there’s been a consistent pattern of healing, building and nurturing each relationship.”
In the midst of trying to understand why he was stuck and what his future might hold, he saw himself working in a peaceful garden, free from stress and filled with purpose. Over the past year he has been working toward making that dream a reality. He’s purchased two acres in South Dallas and has begun to prep the land. He hopes that the food he grows can help supply low income neighborhoods. But more than that, he wants the urban farm to be a place of refuge, peace, and connection.
With a smile, Matt says that he feels so good now. His relationships are life-giving and he can approach his job with confidence. The situation didn’t change – he still works at his father’s firm – but he has changed. He describes a recent experience that captures this new feeling about life: “I was getting a haircut…and there was this song about hope. And I can really resonate with that song. That song brings me alive. Music is better now, because I can believe in the themes that are in music, of hope, love and joy. The pattern before was being shut down, not being heard…and I just ended up losing myself. And through the process of finding myself, I find hope. I find joy in others. I feel more alive.”
Matt’s journey of transformation has been so visible to those around him that he has been asked to share it with others. Since this summer, he’s been meeting with a group of friends that asked him to help lead a discussion about personal transformation, and he hopes to share some things he’s learned. The group began as a place for him to celebrate community in the midst of a dark season, but now he wants to be “a catalyst for anyone else who wants growth.”
- What about Matt’s story resonates with you?
- Can you identify any “ways of being” in your own life that create anxiety in certain relationships?
- Can you envision a different way of showing up?